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Galaxy S8 Rumor Roundup—Here's the Latest on Samsung's Upcoming Flagship

The internet world is abuzz with speculation regarding Samsung's upcoming flagship handset. With the amazing implosion that was the Note7, all eyes are firmly fixed on Samsung's future and the Galaxy S8. The Korean tech giant will need a spectacular release to win back consumer trust, and it's already looking like the S8 won't disappoint.

Here are the significant rumors that are swirling through the internet right now. We'll continually update this post as we find out more.

Image by Fred Bchx/Flickr

Release Date: First or Second Quarter, 2017

There's no concrete release date for the S8 and its variants. Back in October, Sammobile reported that Samsung had commenced firmware development for the S8. If we follow historical trends, official announcement for the S8 should be slated for February 2017, followed by its release to the public up to 3 months later. Wall Street Journal reports that the S8 might not touch down until April 2017 at the latest.

Recent rumors suggest the latter might be true. According to Sammobile, Samsung plans to skip Mobile World Congress 2017 this February and opt instead to hold a completely separate announcement event in New York City between March and early April, with official release slated for April 18, 2017.

Bottom line, we can expect the Galaxy S8 to make its debut anytime between February and April 2017.

Variants: Large & Extra Large, Flat Screen Model Unlikely

The S8 might come in two different screen sizes, similar to 2016's Galaxy S7. It's very much up in the air if Samsung will continue on with its trend and make a traditional flat screened S8 along with its Edge line. Chances of this are slim if Samsung opts to make variants based on screen size (more on that next).

Image by F.a Tanim/Flickr

Screen Sizes: 5.5" or 5.7"-6.2" 4K Display

It's still hard to pin down the exact measurements of the display. According to Korea Herald, one of the S8 variants will sport a 5.5-inch 4K (2,160 x 3,840) display.

However, there are still conflicting reports on this front. For instance, Venturebeat states:

The smaller model, G950, is said to offer a 5.7-inch screen, which would put it in the same league as a fall 2015 model, the Galaxy S6 edge+ (but slightly larger than 2016's 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge—which was not followed by a plus variant—and quite a bit larger than the 5.1-inch Galaxy S6, S6 edge, and S7).

Besides being a half-inch bigger at 6.2 inches, the G955 was also rumored to adopt a different aesthetic appearance, thanks to a nearly edge-to-edge display. To achieve this appearance without pushing the limits of the device's pocketability, it's said to be the first Galaxy model to forgo physical and capacitive navigation buttons in favor of on-screen ones. The two phones will allegedly be sold as the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 plus.

So we've got one report pointing to a 5.5-inch display, and a second report indicating that there will be two models with 5.7-inch and 6.2-inch displays, respectively. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but one of these screens having a 4K resolution is a real possibility.

Screen-to-Body Ratio: 90% or Higher

A radical and exciting prospect that's gaining traction is that the S8's screen-to-body ratio (how much real estate the display occupies in relation to the whole front) will be more than 90%. Compare that with S7's 72.1%, and mind blown.

Because of this, it stands to reason that Samsung could omit the iconic home button on the S8. Reports suggest that the fingerprint scanner could be located underneath the glass of the display itself.

A Rear-Mounted Fingerprint Sensor

While the the fingerprint reader could be located underneath the glass on the front, rumors are that it might not be ready in time for the intended Galaxy S8 launch, which would either push the date back, and that it's not as accurate as a regular fingerprint sensor. A far more likely solution is that Samsung will put the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone like other manufacturers do.

Processors: Exynos 8895, Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 or 835

It's widely expected that the S8 will run on Samsung's own Exynos 8895 in some regions, but there's still uncertainty which Qualcomm chip will be used for a majority of production phones in the US.

It's currently a tossup between Snapdragons 830 and 835. A betting man would put money on the 835, as it'll be built on 10nm architecture that's potentially 30% faster than its 14nm predecessors. It's also VR and 4K ready.

Storage: Up to 256 GB, Expandability Unknown

According to TechTastic, sketchy reports are coming in from weibo users, suggesting there will be 256 GB version available. If this is the case, then there's reason to believe that lower capacity options (64 GB, 128 GB, etc.) will also be available. Will it have expandable memory like the S7? Now that's the $64,000 question.

RAM: 6 Gigabytes

As for RAM, we may be in for a treat. As TechTastic notes, the S8 will come equipped with a whopping 6 GB of RAM, putting Samsung's new flagship on par with the OnePlus 3T, the only other phone in the US to have this much memory.

Recent reports have shot down an older rumor that said the S8 might have 8 gigabytes of RAM (likely based on the fact that the Snapdragon 835 supports 8 GB), so we're now fairly confident in the 6 GB number.

Front-Facing Camera: Auto-Focus

Snapchatters rejoice! A front facing camera equipped with auto-focus might also be in the works for the S8. EtNews reports that Samsung has come up with a new type of camera actuator that will make front-facing auto-focus possible while saving precious space.

Auto-focus is usually limited to the rear-facing camera on smartphones because of a technology called Voice Coil Motor (VCM). VCM has coils that encircle the lens to enable auto-focus features, but this setup is generally too bulky to use in the limited space provided for front-facing camera modules.

However, instead of using VCM, Samsung will use a new encoder-type actuator that'll have the coils on the sides of the camera module itself to help keep a slim profile, thus paving the way for front-facing auto-focus. As exciting as this sounds, one thought lingers in my head....

...will it make me look pretty? Image by Juan Manalo/Gadget Hacks

Rear Camera: Dual Camera a Possibility

A Weibo tipster by the name of Ice Universe alleges that Samsung plans to bypass the rear dual-camera setup in favor of a more traditional mono-lens design, at least for the smaller 5.1" S8. He hints that a the dual-camera setup could be employed on the larger 5.5" variant, similar to the route Apple took with their iPhone 7 line.

Earlier reports did say that the S8 would feature a two camera setup with 12-megapixel Samsung and 13-megapixel Sony modules, so we're not really sure what to expect here.

Meet Viv: Samsung's AI Assistant

The company Viv, which has created a cutting-edge virtual assistant capable of working seamlessly with apps and services, was acquired by Samsung back in October 2016. Developed by the creators of Siri (which Apple purchased in 2010), Viv has been hailed as Siri's more powerful and extensive little sister.

It's been confirmed that Samsung will incorporate this AI into the S8 line in order to better compete with Apple's Siri and Google's new Assistant.

USB Type-C Will Replace Audio Jack & Micro USB

A newly surfaced report suggests that Samsung will follow Apple's lead and omit the 3.5 mm audio jack. The S8 will instead incorporate the newer USB Type-C port (as seen on the Moto Z) to streamline design and hardware space. If this proves to be true, analog headphones-loving Samsung fans are in for a big disappointment.

Harman Stereo Speakers

Samsung purchased Harman International, a world leading audio system specialist, for $8 billion back in November 2016. Harman is famous for furnishing and providing connected audio system solutions for the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, and Bentley, among others.

A latest report from Fonearena suggest that the Galaxy s8 might come fully furnished with Harman branded stereo speakers. It makes a lot of sense for Samsung to fully utilize Harman's expertise in audio tech and fully incorporate it into their premiere line of handsets.

Stay Tuned...

That's all the major gossip regarding Samsung's upcoming flagship handset that's out as of now. As exciting as these rumors are, they are just that. As such, we will keep you updated as more juicy tidbits seep through the cracks.

Cover photo background by skeeze/Pixabay

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